Thugs on Tugs

Many news agencies have been reporting on the resurgence of thievery on the high seas. The story may be receiving more attention than it’s worth because of our utter fascination with pirates. (ARRRGGGHHHH!) This latest search for tanker (ransom) treasure is a scrappy David vs. wealthy Goliath story and several defense blogs are weighing in with credible information one won’t see in any daily.

War is Boring” and freelance thrill seeker David Axe goes to where the action is so you don’t have to. Axe has spent December in Mombasa, Kenya, to cover piracy. In his series “Axe vs. Pirates” he gives a personal look at the very real dangers in the region. The UN’s greenlighting of pirate pursuit inside Somalia (How did they work out the legal issues?) makes this a very good (or very bad) time to be chasing pirates in Africa.
A superb homeport for Navy blogdom, “Information Dissemination: Observations of an Armchair Admiral”  concludes that Somali piracy essentially is not a major issue for the U.S. when ranked with national priorities. It is not “counter to U.S. interests in Somalia.” The rerouting of a U.S. tanker, according to author “Galrahn,” costs all U.S. citizens less than a penny. The United States has more pressing (and costly) issues.

He notes that while Somalia is a major front in one of the priorities— fighting terrorism, piracy is an unrelated issue. The disarray in Somalia as a failed state allows for nuisances like piracy to flourish without interruption. The up side is that these thieves are driven by economics and not religious fanaticism. In fact, pirates’ motives are counter to those of radical Islam. “Galrahn” stops just short of the adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The author also looks at how the current legal framework to deal with piracy is woefully out of date. He notes only the French have an evolved legal framework to that allows them to take pirates prisoner. (That maybe why a recent NPR report was made from a French vessel. )
Could the Somali pirates be a part of a solution as the author suggests? If you want a serious discussion of the issues, go to Information Dissemination. If you want some perilous globetrotting with “Gee-I’m-face-to-face-with-real-pirates-and-maybe-this-was-not-such-a-good-idea” flair, take a look at “Axe vs. Pirates.”

Don’t we all wish we were David Axe in some way?

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